Have You Ever Been in Love?
Have you ever been in love, and not the puppy or butterfly love? I learned very early that I get butterfly love for good food and good books, so I don’t equate that to true love. I mean the human type, the type that lets your whole being exhale into the universe—that type of love. Not the “Oh he is so cute” or “Oh I love her curves.” And I am not talking about the superficial and one of the most-heard type: “I love his or her money and their connections,” “I am sure I will get a lot from being with him/her.” This one bothers me a lot, but that is another blog post by itself.
I’m talking about love…love in its true and muddled form, where you have surpassed the infatuation stage and where lust, if you are fortunate, does not even come into the equation.
For many of us, we have all experienced moments of like, infatuation, love—and if we are honest with ourselves, heartbreak…If at this point, you are going to say that you have never experienced heartbreak or pain as a side effect of love, go to the doctor right now—you may not have a heart! The thing is, we all grow up reading about and watching on TV characters who have fairytale love. They meet each other one day, spend time eating ice cream or dancing in the rain; and by the end of the night, they are in love. There might be some conflict with a villain that lasts a day or two, but by the end of the week, they are be together again, married and probably pushing a baby carriage.
Then, as we got older, our books and movies change a bit, and instead of eating ice cream, it goes from “Hi, my name is Becky,” to two characters having sex. Then there’s a villain moment and they are back in bed again. I don’t think I am overreacting—this is just how most depictions of love seemed to me as I was growing up.
Being an outwardly quiet child, I was able to observe and absorb a lot without much interruption, and these were not the love scenes I was seeing play out in real life. As a teenager, I saw schoolmates fall in love today, and the next week fall out of love for some trivial reason…then the next week fall in love again with that same person or someone else. And they were no different from teenagers everywhere; they reflected the overall movement in society. I was guilty of the same.
As we grew older, well, that became a total mess. It still surprises me that people make it out of their twenties with any piece of their heart intact. The theory behind the actions remains the same, but the damaged hearts and emotions that lie in the waste grow bigger as the techniques to hurt and betray increase and it is no longer just your ice cream that is being shared.
Now, in my late thirties, I know many people who have not made peace with the hurt of their twenties, but have instead evolved a new emotional skin which, to the untrained eyes, appears happy and at peace. Being a lifelong romantic, this hurts me as I see people turn their backs on love and move through life contented to use lust or infatuation as its ineffective replacement.
I am not saying that people should throw logic to the wind, and throw their fragile hearts to every undeserving person that smiles at them. I don’t think that our hearts were made for such vigorous activity. But I do believe that when we first discover who we are, we can then see love more clearly and for what it truly is. I believe that you can’t fully love someone with your entire being until you find peace with yourself and love who you are and who you may become. I mean, think of it logically: How can you really get to know and love someone, when there is so much of you that you don’t know? If you are not even sure of the person you are looking at in the mirror, how can you be sure of the person whose hand you are holding? You can’t even read your own mind, so why do you think you can read theirs?
What I think I am trying to say is that love isn’t a game or a sport, and it’s not something we should enter into lightly. Just as we have no right to play around with people’s property, we shouldn’t use people’s emotions and bodies (and our own) as our new play toy or video game. Toys get worn out and broken, and when love is not used in its true form—which is to build, encourage, and cherish—it can be dangerous. Would you give a child a weapon to play with? Well, that’s what putting love in an unready heart and mind can do.
We gain maturity and readiness by first learning who we are and loving ourselves and the Earth. We also learn to have empathy for other people. After we have practiced, perfected, and figured out our own quirks and worth…that’s when we can jump into love. This does not mean that we fall over a cliff and get cut and bruised with love. We are all human and sometimes, though we may be ready, the next person still has their own demons to face in their path to self-development. What our preparation does give us, is a roadmap to know what can and what shouldn’t work for us….and it gives us a parachute and repair kit, just in case that next person turns out to be a total emotionless fool. Then your fall won’t be as hard, and your recovery period won’t be as long.
When combined with prayer, I think this is the best way to approach love. Just maybe the next time someone asks you if you ever been in love, you can stand with a smile and say, “Yes, I have, and I am.”
Previously published: https://uncagedphoenix.com/2017/06/14/have-you-ever-been-in-love/